In the bubble-soaked opening of tonight’s episode, there is a line that resonated for reasons connected to the episode and the season: “My wife and I have an arrangement.” Spoken by Dan to Ginny, the line could have applied to a number of people who have arrangements, although most of them unspoken. The one in particular that occurs to me is Bill and Libby. They don’t have an arrangement, at least not out loud, but it exists. It exists in the children neither parent seems to spend much time with, their families vacationing with them and fur coats purchased by Bill not for his wife.
This season, more so than the previous two, Bill and Libby have not occupied the same scenes very often. It was driven home the moment they stood, side by side, drinking away the treachery of their respective lovers, even toasting to redouble their efforts to move further away from each other. Bill’s response to her query about their marriage, “We tried our best,” speaks volumes to their arrangement. And volumes to the unknotting that will eventually take place between them. Perhaps then they can drink together and have a laugh.
Bill doesn’t see Virginia for his regular romp and suddenly he is in her dark house, awaiting her return. The contrast with the opening intimate bubble bath with Ginny’s second tryst where she fakes intimacy (among other things) to appease her first married lover, highlighted how convoluted things have become for her this season. Last week, I called her out for the dangerous game she is playing with Bill and Dan, but based on this pair of scenes, I redact it. Virginia is a smart woman who shouldn’t have to chose because the men in her life haven’t. I doubt either man, especially Bill, will see it that way. Particularly since she still isn’t on board for his study.
Betty got to spend this week playing high school go-between for one man and surrogate mom to another. One minute Helen and Betty are debating Jeannie’s hairstyle and the next they are trying to force the genie back in the bottle when a drunken, defeated Austin shows up at their door to bemoan the loss of his kids. As much as the ladies don’t need a man anymore for their baby, I kind of hope this threesome can work together to raise this kid without things getting terrible.
Speaking of terrible, little Nora is all grown up as a participant in Bill’s study. Her first time in the arena has her breaking the doctor’s rules as another woman who won’t be controlled by Bill. This girl is a bundle of daddy issues waiting to explode. How that will happen might seem obvious, but things don’t always ignite the way we expect in the world of Masters and Johnson.
In the past few episodes, the show has found a new, fantastic groove. What the final episodes of the season have in store, well . . . part of the payoff is the anticipation.
Masters of Sex airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on TMN (Canada) and Showtime (U.S.), as well as 10 p.m. MT/9 p.m PT on Movie Central (Western Canada).